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1318.3 - Qld Stats, Sep 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/09/2009   
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Image: Water Use on Queensland Farms, 2005-06 WATER USE ON QUEENSLAND FARMS, 2007-08


Introduction
Agricultural water use
Irrigation water use
Further information



INTRODUCTION

The agriculture industry is a major consumer of water in the Queensland economy. The Water Account, Australia 2004-05 (cat. no. 4610.0) showed agriculture to account for 67% of all water consumed in Queensland in 2004-05.

This article presents estimates of agricultural water use, including pastures and crops irrigated. The estimates are compiled from data collected as part of the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) for the year ended 30 June 2008. Volume of water in this article is expressed as either gigalitres, which is one thousand million litres, or megalitres (ML), which is one million litres. Application rate is the rate at which water is applied to an area or crop, measured in megalitres per hectare (ML/ha).



AGRICULTURAL WATER USE

In 2007-08, Queensland's 29,121 agricultural businesses used 2,039 gigalitres of water for agricultural production. This represents 29% of the national agricultural water use.

Of this total 2,039 gigalitres, 90% (1,843 gigalitres) was used for the irrigation of pastures and crops and 10% (196 gigalitres) was used for other agricultural purposes such as stock watering and the cleaning of dairies and piggeries. Volumes of irrigation water for crops and pastures increased by 0.1% from 2006–07, and volumes of water used for other agricultural purposes declined by 19%.

IRRIGATION WATER USE

In Queensland, 31% of agricultural businesses reported using water for irrigation in 2007-08, an increase from the 29% reporting use of water for irrigation in 2006-07. A total of 512,774 hectares was irrigated in 2007-08, a 12% increase from that irrigated in 2006-07. The average application rate reduced from 4.0 megalitres per hectare (ML/ha) in 2006-07 to 3.6 ML/ha in 2007-08. After Western Australia (4.5 ML/ha) and South Australia (3.9 ML/ha), Queensland had the third highest application rate of irrigation water.

Whilst reporting a downturn in area under crop, sugar cane producers continued to be the largest irrigator in Queensland, using 45% of the state's irrigation water at an application rate of 4.5ML/ha in 2007-08. Less than half (48%) of Queensland sugar cane producers used water for irrigation purposes.

Queensland saw a large increase in water use for irrigation of other cereals for grain or seed with 327 gigalitres used in 2007-08.

Of the 168 agricultural businesses engaged in the production of cotton, 83% reported using water for irrigation. In 2007-08 cotton used 105 gigalitres, a decrease of 46% from the 194 gigalitres used in irrigation in 2006-07. Cotton (4.9 ML/ha) had the highest application rate of pastures and crops irrigated in Queensland.


PASTURES AND CROPS IRRIGATED, Queensland, 2007-08

Agricultural
businesses
Agricultural
businesses
irrigating
Area under
pasture or crop
Area
irrigated
Volume
applied
Application
rate
no.
no.
'000 ha
'000 ha
ML
ML/ha

Pasture, cereal and other crops used for grazing (a)
13,474
2,354
32,675
^63
153,100
^2.4
Pasture, cereal and other crops cut for hay (a)
4,086
1,454
149
27
79,542
2.9
Pasture, cereal and other crops cut for silage (a)
na
^394
na
^11
^40,218
3.8
Other cereals for grain or seed (b)
3,902
579
1,463
106
327,456
3.1
Cotton
168
140
29
21
104,796
4.9
Sugar cane
3,716
1,797
355
184
834,414
4.5
Other broadacre crops (c)
2,379
*190
246
^17
44,434
2.6
Fruit trees, nut trees, plantation or berry fruits (d)
2,724
1,719
49
35
106,655
3.0
Vegetables for human consumption or seed
1,629
1,462
35
34
^112,980
3.4
Nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf
665
591
^5
^4
16,110
^3.7
Grapevines
^120
^92
^1
^1
^4,700
^3.7
TOTAL(e)
(f)29,121
(f)9,047
(g)141,058
513
1,842,729
3.6

^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
na not available
(a) Includes lucerne.
(b) Excludes rice.
(c) Excludes cereals, sugar cane and cotton.
(d) Excludes grapevines.
(e) Totals include other pastures or crops not elsewhere classified.
(f) Total does not equal the sum as many businesses grow or irrigate more than one crop or pasture.
(g) Total includes area of all agricultural land. This does not equal the sum of area under pasture or crop as not all land on agricultural holdings is under pasture or crops.


FURTHER INFORMATION

Water Use on Australian Farms, 2007-08 (cat.no. 4618.0)
Water Use on Queensland Farms, 2006-07

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